Here at Sonnet, part of our work is helping businesses implement, adjust and manage their CRM systems. There are more and more providers entering the market, all with slightly different propositions.
Choosing a CRM system that is right for your business is a huge undertaking, it will become the backbone of your sales and marketing function, so it’s no easy choice.
We have four basic considerations that will help with the decision-making process and (fingers crossed) will make your life a little easier.
P.S To make your life even easier, we’ve turned this lengthy blog into a video.
1. Cloud-Based or In-House?
It almost seems like a moot point as the general shift is from the desktop-based to the cloud-based, but there are cases for keeping hold of desktop solutions and given that businesses are more cautious of security with the cloud it seems fitting to keep this as a primary consideration.
A cloud-based solution is great for remote workers as well as sales reps who are always on the move. It means they can update and keep on top of the engagement with their prospects throughout the working day regardless of their location. It helps managers keep on track with what team members are up to and generally makes for the more efficient working day all around.
However, if you’re going cloud-based, think about the risk to your data. Will your sales reps be saving their password on their browser? If so, consider the ‘left my laptop on the train’ scenario and the potential data breach that could occur.
Sales reps will also be logging via more than one device (phone, laptop and tablet) this essentially means an average of three devices per team member (as a minimum) to keep track of.
Cloud-based systems also raise the question of where the data is stored and who else will have access to this. You may want to consider third parties that your CRM provider use as well as their own Ts & Cs when it comes to where your data is stored and who else outside of your organisation will have access to it.
This works well for office based sales reps, mainly working in outbound marketing (phone, email, postal etc.) you can have one computer hosting the solution with additional PCs linked through.
It works well at keeping all data in-house and for the risk adverse.
Unfortunately, there is a reason cloud-based models are becoming more popular. Disaster recovery with in-house options is more complex and risky. Without regular back-ups or automated updates, you run the risk of deleting or losing data permanently.
Also, should you have an issue with the software the resolution times tend to be longer, with a desktop solution it is difficult for a remote support team to rectify issues, you may need someone in-house who is able to combat these internal problems.
2. The need for automation
A CRM system is generally implemented to keep all sales funnel operations within one centralised place. Depending on your requirements you may want to look at the level of automation (if any) you want to achieve from the system.
Generally, low value / high volume based business models will look to implement more automation into their sales funnel given the lack of complexity in services/products.
Alternatively, high-value contracts have more decision makers, with regular changes to contracts and service agreements. Automation in this instance isn’t as necessary but scheduling and follow up tools will be essential for your sales reps.
Consider your current sales process and what can be easily automated and what will need to maintain a manual (more personal) process.
3. Integration Capabilities
You will need to assess all the marketing and sales tools that you use within the organisation when considering a new CRM. Ideally, any email marketing tools, landing page applications and your web page contact forms will integrate into the CRM, this avoids the potential risks associated with the duplication of data and will provide you with a smooth flow of leads between sales and marketing.
If you use various forms of direct marketing, you will need a process for determining what marketing channels each prospect have opted into and how unsubscribers are filtered.
This is even more critical given that the GDPR comes into play in May 2018 (you can grab a free copy of our whitepaper here).
Also, consider email integration with all of your sales reps. All emails to prospects should be documented within the CRM. There are various options for documenting these, some through BCC-ing a specific email address, others through sending emails directly out the CRM.
Make a list of all the tools as well as the way in which each tool is used; this will give you an idea of the integration set-up you’ll need for your new CRM.
These are just a couple of thing to be looking out for when choosing your CRM that will help make a considerate and well-rounded choice for the long term.
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